The time leading up to your wedding can be filled with joy, but it can also be incredibly stressful. Not just for the bride, of course, but for her bridesmaids, who have quite the list of responsibilities of their own. Unfortunately, no matter how close you are to these women you've asked to stand up for you, it's possible the Big Day could take a toll on your relationship. Or lead to an unexpected snafu, misunderstanding, or argument.
Have no fear! Here, how a bride can bandage up six of the most gut-churning, but common bridesmaid conundrums ...
- You need to dismiss a bridesmaid. Hopefully, you need to do this not because you're a total Bridezilla, but because something else -- something significant happened to make you change your mind on the road to "I do." Like you were BFFs and drifted far apart. Erica Manney of YouShouldOnlyKnow.com notes, "Almost all of the time, kicking out a bridesmaid means the friendship is over. Think about that seriously before you make that decision. Is this something you want to end the friendship over?" If yes, then maybe it really is best that you have that tough conversation.
- Your bridesmaid can't fulfill her financial obligations. Sometimes, brides handle this by helping out, which can be completely called for, like when your bridesmaid is a college student subsisting on loans! (That description fit my little sister, who was my Maid of Honor. I obviously had no problem footing the bill for her dress and various other expenses!) But if you aren't willing or able to cover her costs, it may be grounds for dismissal. But in that case, according to Manney, "You should be gracious about this. You may be able to do this with some class and dignity for both of you, and remain great friends. Consider another role within your wedding that would make your great friend feel cherished."
- Your bridesmaid quits. Whether it's because she also suffered from #2 and didn't want to ask for help, was fed up with your Bridezilla ways, or just wasn't that into your nuptials, bridesmaids have been known to bail. My advice to a friend who recently grappled with this: Whether the bridesmaid didn't want to be there or legitimately couldn't make it work, you're better off just making like Adele Dazeem and letting go. What bride wants someone who feels forced or pained to stand beside them anyway? Ick, no thanks! Better to just let the person be a guest, or depending on how they peaced out, maybe just go your separate ways, at least for the wedding day.
- Your bridesmaid hates the dress you picked. Unfortunately, the answer for this all too common one is pretty much ... that's too bad. There's only so much negotiation that can be done over satin vs. cotton, David's Bridal vs. Modcloth vs. J. Crew. Of course it's unreasonable to expect a friend to squeeze into a dress that doesn't fit them at all or is completely unflattering, but I'd like to think most brides consider their friends' shapes and comfort level, right? And ultimately, the bride is the one making the executive decision about the bridesmaid dresses -- lest the topic turn into a neverending topic of debate. And maids just gotta do as Tim Gunn would say and ... make it work!
- Your bridesmaid has a new boyfriend every week, and you don't want to give her a +1. If someone has gone to all the trouble to be a bridesmaid and has someone in their life who they feel is special enough to accompany them to your wedding, it seems only fair to be cool with that -- no matter how long they've been together or you'd guess they will be together.
- Your bridesmaid doesn't want to cover up her tattoos.
When you ask a woman to be your bridesmaid, you're asking a human being -- in all her real, flawed, beautiful glory -- to be by your side. That pretty much means sucking it up and dealing with any of her physical characteristics you may not be wild about, like tattoos or piercings. As Manney points out, "Your friends and loved ones are not props or accessories for Your Special Day. They may gain weight, get pregnant, have a disfiguring accident, or get some sort of body adornment that you don’t like. If you chose them because they would look good in pictures, please remove them from your entourage, hire models and get yourself the number of a really good therapist. People are who they are. The photographs are there to remind you of the joy you had on that day, with the real people you love. Not the idealized versions you wish you had. Accept and love them for who they are." Amen!
What other bridesmaid conundrum have you had to deal with? Or did you experience as a bridesmaid? And how was it handled?
Image via 10corsocomo/Flickr